Athletes achieve great results at Oceanias

Rotorua pair see benefits from their hard training

Shauni James





Dedication and training came to fruition for two Lake City Athletic Club athletes at the Oceania Area Championships. The championships were held in Mackay, Queensland, recently. Rotorua’s Lisa Adams, Paralympic F37 shot putter and F38 discus thrower, won the open para shot put with a throw of 14.45m. Lisa said she was both excited and nervous on competition day, which is her norm. She said she should have been happier with her result, but that is because as an athlete you are always wanting more. “It was cool, of course you want to do well.” Lisa said she liked the Oceania Area Championships because Oceania is our region, and it is one of the few times you get to compete with and see athletes from the smaller neighbouring nations. “At the last Oceania Area Championships in Townsville 2019, there were three to four para athletes doing shot put and this year there was eight of us, so it’s growing which is really cool.” She says the next big focus is the world championships in Paris next year, but since it is more than a year she will probably use a closer competition as something to work towards. Lisa says at the Oceania Area Championships there were also wellbeing workshops and seminars held every day for athletes, para athletes, coaches, officials. “It was awesome to be able to attend them and to listen and learn. It was pretty cool that was put on by Oceanias.” Rotorua runner Hannah Gapes said leading up to Oceanias she was on a pre-tour with the New Zealand team, where she competed in a 3000m invitational at the Gold Coast, placing second, and a 1500m Mackay invitational which she won. “Coping with the heat was challenging, but I was really happy with my 1500m race. I had some really great workouts leading into the event as well.” For Oceanias, she competed in the 3000m and placed second. “I wasn’t overly happy with how I performed, but I gained a lot of experience, and it was a great opportunity to race alongside Australia’s top U20 middle distance runner.” Hannah said she had a 10-week training block for this event, specifically designed by her coach Jason Cameron. “Typically this included a combination of easy longer runs and higher speed shorter runs. “These were done on trails, road and for the speed work I travelled to Tauranga to their all-weather track.” She hadn’t competed at the Oceania Area Championships before. “This was the first time representing New Zealand as Covid has cancelled events that I had previously been selected for,” she said. “It was such an amazing experience to be surrounded by likeminded people with similar goals, and it was great to make friendships with people outside my event.” Hannah said she really enjoyed being able to train and get to know others for the two-and-a-half weeks she was there. “It was a lot of fun. To finally be able to wear the white and black New Zealand uniform was another step to realising my dream and a huge privilege.” Looking ahead, Gapes is planning on doing a 3000m time trial on the track in Nelson this weekend where she hoped to reach her time-based goal. Then she would jump straight into cross country training. “The North Islands are coming up in three weeks, and the NZ U20 Cross Country Championships in July, both held at my favourite cross country course — Taupō’s Spa Park.”